Archive for ‘Local Literature’

May 5, 2018

The American Underdog

The underdog is the
all-American hero.
They have no chance,
no hope to win, everything
against them. But with
astonishing effort and self-belief
they make the impossible possible.
It’s a beautiful thing.
The American Underdog inspires.

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March 31, 2018

When I Commute from Hamline/Midway in St Paul to the East Bank of Minneapolis at 7:20 in the Morning and back at 5:15 in the Evening, it’s a very personal experience that I will share with you because you are part of it too and everything and you should know

outside, on the street, other drivers can’t drive.
i mean they drive, but badly.
going on University Avenue to CVM by Surly
i realize this frequently, daily, to my surprise…
i want to see all my surroundings at once,
close captioned, in HD, real-time,
over 280, let me explain.
people choose not to use their turn signals,
they choose to not stay in their own lane,
they find illegal parking on the side by Dunn Bros…
when we pay taxes we pay for both sides of the road, i get it.
at West Gate Station, get ready to abruptly stop, always.
Get ready to get looked at hard, in a not nice fashion.
there is no open road freedom.
further, pedestrians look at crosswalks like patrons look at art at the MIA.
here, nothing special to see, white lines, no meaning apparently; awe-inspiring.
i am stuck in Frogger, these are the frogs, i am the cars.
try me, run for the train.
when i sit shotgun i am a shackled dictator repeating:
slow down, babe!
watch out, babe!
OMG, don’t tailgate, please, i know this person loves
causing accidents…its probably
an insurance scam waiting to happen…
see those dent’s, i can tell they are texting and driving 3 cars away.
what a nice person, what a great driver, i substitute curse words.
i like to think about things like that, and potholes.
they make the moon landing less believable, these craters on earth.
both cities, just please fix the fucking roads.
this is in my head i never say it.
only more cordially or through art…
i don’t care about politics because they just talk.
just make it so i can get to somewhere without destroying my vehicle,
at least when i am in the beautiful city of, i am between.
if i wanted to off-road most days i would go to the farm.
still i am offered excuses, told how hard it is, all at once, patience.
as an adult who pays taxes, officially, and who drives a leased Subaru
i can appreciate the idea of better infrastructure
for logical reasons like having nice things, if you can’t agree
that’s not for me…
but again, outside, other drivers can’t drive.
and, now, the construction site that took away our child’s daycare
to make cheaply built expensive high-rise condos
also takes away the single lane
after they took away the double lane a few weeks back.
and i got no condolences, i make nothing off it only lost time.
it’s hard to apologize for wanting better roads
and better drivers on those roads, and people to get off
their phones, and for some dangerous bikers to be careful, to choose a side.
i guess for a safer and better life for all, a better community…
that’s initiative today, just complain about it.
i can’t recall the last time
i didn’t pay for insurance, tabs, plates, gas,
parking, repairs, oil changes, general maintenance, deductibles for insurance
after hitting a twilight rodent; that’s just life tho, my choice, i know.
but other drives, O, it’s so hard to understand them!
and they breeze by and scowl like i have a problem!
(probably it’s me too, we are all to blame.)
and they act like they have never wronged or sinned or failed,
or mistakes don’t happen to them, ever. i think we know better.
that’s America though; we never do wrong. they do, right?
we are all Gentlemen Animals, no different. human animals.
covering so that the Thought Police don’t get to us at some point.
but the Thought Police are Facebook and Twitter and WordPress and GMail…
but other drivers out there, please drive safe you add value.
i don’t know, i love you because unless i am eating
i talk, so i would make a bad spy… and you are great.
i don’t know, i like the view to curtail this complaint or Ode,
it’s beautiful, i race trains and buses and
the sun’s glare from St Paul in the east. i see all people,
and i love them, even as drivers, commuters, they are part of my day and me.
it’s a perfect way to get to where you need to go.
it’s a perfect way to be a part of it.

February 3, 2018

Cub on Larpenteur yesterday

the Cub on Larpenteur
let me know
what i never wanted to do again…
allow myself to be treated low.
i never wanted to do that in the first place.
had to to pay the rent at first tho.
still that fear that lives in my head.
still there is a future out there.
thoughts: maps, directions: how did i get here?
he was an old man beyond driving wind, pushing carts.
no reprieve, no help–he told it all to some kid walking in.
– wonder how he got there?
i will go some other way, away.
surprises, changes, alterations, non-linear.
he told his colleague. up close. personal.
this was him and not him and this was him.
i don’t want that path, i don’t want that.
kaleidoscope of me spinning, no peace.
i walked past to chicken, beer, whiskey, a cashier, etc.
could not see a wedding band on his hardened hands.
wasn’t sure if he was wearing gloves.
at the ground, at the lot, at the cars…
highwaters, dark, wet, soaked, dried, stained; do it again next day.
does anyone have to have pain?
didn’t matter, let me know.
didn’t matter, let me know. let me go.
didn’t matter, no one saw this but me i guess.
six years ago, i did six years, i figured.
i bought my things and carried on, had to go, goodbye.
i think this old-timer stayed. not sure why.
i guess we all gotta eat.

January 26, 2018

waiting for the green line train at west bank station in the snow and cold and heat around 4:36 p.m.

the smell of a late afternoon lunch
enough, enough for snow to melt
imagining debt without a time clock
or vise versa–in some time only fixated…
dusting between keys on a keyboard, jet black
creating something like this, and that, unnoticed unawares
moby-dick for meaning of meaningful meaning
they tell me i have books to pick up
some stand on the shelves like straight soldiers
some crack like and egg in my hand at breakfast
they tell me have a good weekend & we just got over the flu
google will better my photo of West Bank, only soon
words won’t come so easy after that tune
some things just look better in digital format
i will wait for the train, again, here
amongst people who wait for the train, again, here
praising not having to wait for her, once were
wondering what’s in that guys hand, that guys bag
no one puts things on the floor anymore
picking up my little man
waiting for another to arrive–O’ plans: we had
and he asked me what i was eating as if it were bad
i told him what and who made it, of course
man my stomach was starting to feel good just then
thought this before the train came.

November 26, 2017

list of life and lists

a work                                                     of art in progress
such                              a sort of sorts
too much                                  of some things, nothings
a few       more beers, more cheers at the rail
of mice                           and men–books
a river                                    runs thr            ough it–fictions
lighting            the lights Riverside Park
dogs                  killing rabbits   in the backyard
in the                           morning                as
coffee          drips down, down, down, yum…
here the elevation                                     of the bluffs
is high                    as the heavens  call it home, come back,  call it home
a whole city below aglow,  November cold, no snow
sacred, blessed, meaningful flag waving above
bald eagles soaring on pause, floating: not sure what it sees
shining, driftless center like me
movement, more movement between
a city with its shit together
(they collect the leaves and
they have nice streets and it shows)
running in circles, no pot holes
talking the same, politics and pain
narratives of truthful ideas
narratives of appeal (so real)
exhausted we climb on
exhausted we climb on Eagle Bluff Trail
crumpled leaves and sweet sap
and a tree dying on top of an Impreza, I think
cafe jazzing my way through it all

July 9, 2017

how to talk poetry at lake como and there is free stuff on the corner that is treasure and local poets on international ideas and non-profits in the sun on a saturday reflection

we walked Como lake in the sun
at 3, 4, and 5 pm as others ran the circle proper.
i found a wife and a child very happy,
found ice cream and Miller Lite and monarchs floating.
descried a man and a woman stealing caterpillars
from milkweeds near black walnut trees,
recalled that caterpillars arent stupid–get free.
take the insect out of its habitat for safety
lock it up and observe it–for the better, really?
doesn’t make sense to us thinkers.
a couple of canoes reflected off the water
shimmering like a solar eclipses bright, tinfoil cut up.
found blisters on my moccasined feet
found a green Kelty and Boy Scouts of America.
topics of 1995: how to be a U.S. Citizen.
not much has changed much really…
thoughts of running into Tish Jones with another “writer”
a few weeks back, spoke of connected poetry.
i dont think she remembers my name from the
poetry workshop we had together at University.
told me she is international non-profit now
i didnt say what i do… she met teddy and jess.
red bugs and phosphorescent bugs and stabby thorns
and rocks and dog shit and strollers and runners, again.
thoughts of a broken garbage disposal at home
and the fire alarm that fell from the ceiling sky.
cellphone photos in the sun and an empty beer can in hand,
the tallest thickest cotton wood in the city, in this park.
a dockside where people fish in weeded muck
and walk around naked and hot and confused and hungry.
said focusing on everything is focusing on nothing.
trash cans and stone walls and people coming.
the time is late and our child cries for milk.
a parking lot where inordinate occupants move.
pine trees and green grass past Gabe’s patio.
the owner’s car is always parked in front, shining.
found two Colemans in a trash heap of a vacant house
on our tiny and nice street in a good area with good transit.
the rent is ok, the property management is aloof;
this is some american-dream-privilege-fantasy void.
one hundred percent labeled by those who “know”.
i compare indentured servitude and renting property for a moment.
then again, wonder if the neighbors are trying to sell…
it’s a good time to try to make a buck from nothing,
look at this poetry and how it goes and ideas,
especially in this market where easy sells fast
with the right persuasion and movement behind it.
only a walk in the park on a beautiful day.
i promised to be positive from now on
and still i invite the challenge of it all.

July 4, 2017

not popular enough

while you are out there living your life
just don’t kill me with your car
while you are texting and driving,
that’s all i ask.
(i am a husband and a father now…)
it’s hard to do to put down your phone, i know.
you swerving hard too, nbd.
that text is important like social media likes.
while i am out there too just don’t ask
me a thing about what i really think or care about
unless you can just agree
instead of proving me wrong
on something unproveable, because i really do.
i am triggered by dissent, as a self-identified never-wrongist.
because i get easily confused…
are you some sort of great god?
are you in the always-correct group?
are you my boss or the president or taxes too?
rather the sun ascends the west.
rather saunter New York City lost.
rather eat Texas Toast cold, raw.
this coffee tastes old like last week’s status update,
and coffee is not like wine.
salad dressing and pasta make a good cheap salad.
scroll the day away or stay awake.
find a new hobby app to find a new hobby to attack.
let the clothes pile up.
the chore list gets more amassed,
the opposite of my bank account.
never reline the trash cans with plastic sash.
shit happens but why me?
bike to a junk yard through a swamp in noonday sun.
around and past a brave frog standing.
tanktop sunburns, rooftop bars.
wondering which card to use to pay, a tip, how large?–sorry…
anyway, the extent of my road rage
is calling someone a fucking dummy
from the safety of inside of my car.
see me as i walk across the street
just remember to hide your phone.
no one would facebook live stream something like that
like finding another penny,
it won’t spark protest or make the front page.

April 15, 2017

Travel to La Crescent, Minnesota

why not leave at 6:30 pm
or 6:38, or whenever time,
no time no matter no worry,
cant think for not?
we go in wetting droplets,
Gods globulars hung at our mirrors
sluiced in the whatnot, and everyday.
Lexington Parkway traffic,
homeless with signs, traffic,
dampness seeps in the traffic,
94 traffic to 52 south.
we were full to the brim; kitchen sink.
sometimes i feel bad for them.
sometimes i feel bad for me.
more of want of wont of need, both agreed.
sometimes everything is always run on monies
so i work harder on Mondays come and see me.
Antony and the Johnsons loudly
and a Fistful of Love… you have never heard of.
the things we dont know are more poignant.
cut across a freeway, no freedom
on our way along the way to see some,
temped by wiperblade and dead deer viscera–
something scattered last week and foul
something old and brown and our future.
losing light like the night.
more south, St Charles, Rochester,
more south, Preston, Rushford, Houston,
into the deep croaking valley green
spawned ever by these roiling storms
kind that would hard driving make
then here now true.
i always wish to dine in Nodine.
then there on the hillside:
a blazing hot cross that says fuck you in passive aggressive
to the spoiled lot that whined about it from WI
extinguished from their special sensitive gaze.
a train that i didnt see but heard blew on by–
must be a metaphor for something…
look at that rambler, i want it.
we can leave whenever to wherever
but when we make it well know for not.
But when we left didnt matter really.

*
come to theorize:
perhaps Dale Earnhardt’s death
was the 9/11 of NASCAR…

March 28, 2017

how to be a thoughtful globalist in the wake of fake intellectuals

this would make me empassioned, or
impassioned.  i am passionate about this something…
that’s how i get
when neo-globalists
who’ve never left the states
try to fix
other people’s problems
with
their English language exclusively.
the irony of westernization; fixed only by itself. YOU SEE?
and that is what they call backwards and selfish.
tho, there will be no stories of this on the news.
because just get out there and disrupt because.
and they should
call those who
think locally “nationalists” too.
a bunch of loud fools.
you know, somethings don’t translate.
you know, people might have different opinions.
this is how language works.
so when they/you designate
their/your ideas, ideations, and ideologies
as such, i just smh in realtime.
so silly, so stupid, so same.
that is why i am a where-ever-i-am-at-ist,
because i am right there,
i can attempt to understand
what i see and experience around me,
for me, for truth, for better.
maybe even for you…
but honestly, not for you (i don’t care)
or the tv (forget tv), i won’t facebook livestream it
or create a clever sign that
gets thrown away next day in some ironic carbon footprint
(that you too should actually hate)
after the post and the filter and the likes–fretter fakes.
and that is what i am passionate about,
or empassioned about, or impassioned about,
all that is around me
because i can touch it tangible,
as they said, i can feel the real,
i can set the clock next to the bed.
and there is something about language and labels.

December 10, 2016

cold as cold as cold and cspan

it is 6 degrees in frogtown, mn,
i am inside sick watching cspan

and a baby sleep in his rock
& play, wife in the kitchen watching

a cracked screen. my face is full
of snot, head full of congestion, watching

talking heads tell me about “fake news”
and debates and their influences.

(easy, i could take their words for it
they probably don’t care about mine.)

someone wears a bandaid on his cheek;
the president wants a deep dive

investigation; and the red hot chili
peppers had a forgotten album in 2004, says reddit.

i wonder about where i was at that time,
i don’t know how that all factors

into everything, but mostly i care
about what is right here, around me.

wooden floors and naked feet–pallid,
lemon sinks to the bottom of my mug

as a blue whale in the south pacific,
muddy water coffee waits on a tablecloth,

plastic snug on the windows, electrical heaters
and baby toys. a coat hangs slack

like yesterday. i know how hillary
felt when she fell into that van,

now i’m with her. now i am sick.
now i am achy as a lab skeleton cold.